Health officials scratching over West Nile

(August 28, 2003) — (Little Rock-AP) -- State health officials are scratching their heads over why all six human cases of West Nile virus reported so far this year in Arkansas have occurred in Jefferson County. Of the state's 75 counties, Jefferson County is among those that aggressively cleaned up places where mosquitoes breed. County officials urged residents to do the same. Doctor Sharon Williams, the state public health veterinarian, coordinates surveillance of the mosquito-borne virus statewide. She says health officials can only guess why the human cases appeared only in Jefferson County. And the characteristics of the six cases don't provide an answer. In 1991, when the state saw an outbreak of Saint Louis encephalitis, Jefferson County also was among the most affected counties.